July 1, 2022

Summerfest honors 2022 Grand Marshal, ‘Hometown Hero’

Windham Summerfest Grand Marshal David Tobin, left,
and Modern Woodmen 'Hometown Hero' Gary Plummer,
ride in the 2022 Summerfest Parade in a classic 1965
By Ed Pierce

Two residents with a long history of distinguished service to the community were honored by Windham Summerfest as Grand Marshal for the annual parade and the Modern Woodmen “Hometown Hero.” Former state legislator David Tobin was recognized as this year’s Grand Marshal while his friend and former legislator Gary Plummer was chosen as this year’s “Hometown Hero.”

Windham Summerfest Chair Deb Matthews said that Plummer was a clear choice to be honored as the 2022 Modern Woodmen “Hometown Hero.”

Plummer graduated from Windham High School in 1964 and is a teacher who went on to represent Windham in the Maine State Senate and the Maine House of Representatives. She said he is supportive of Windham’s military veterans and is involved in many organizations and committees that serve to make Windham a great place to live. 

“I have personally served with him on Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors for many years, and he makes himself open and available anytime I reach out to him,” Matthews said.

As this year’s “Hometown Hero,” Plummer received a plaque and a $100 donation to the charity of his choice.

Plummer said being honored as a “Hometown Hero” came as a total surprise to him.

“When I got the call to tell me about this award, my first thought was, ‘What, me the Windham Hometown Hero? How can that be? I am just a regular guy who tries to be kind and help out people in need,” Plummer said. “Then my thoughts quickly turned to the heroes in my life. I thought of Dr. Sidney Branson. He delivered me and hundreds of other babies into this world. He was a World War II veteran. I marched in Memorial Day Parades with Dr. Branson and many other veterans.”

He said that World War II veteran, Don Rogers and his wife Norma were people that he has always admired, along with Bob Miele, Caroll McDonald, Frank Hawkes, Ralph MacDonald and other World War II veterans.

“I thought about Jerry Black, Don Swander, Walter Braley and other Korean War veterans. They are also people that I consider heroes,” Plummer said. “I think of my high school classmates. Many went into military service and ended up serving in Vietnam. Since that time many have defended our country and our freedoms. God bless them and the many who defend “Her” today.”

Plummer also said he thought about his mother and father, who taught him about the importance of giving back to our town, our state and our country and of David Tobin, who was the Grand Marshal of the Summerfest Parade.

“He and his wife, Joan, have always been model citizens,” he said. “I thought about the Chutes, the Manchesters, and all those who came here in the 1700s and settled this town. These are just a few of the thoughts that flooded my mind in the minutes after that call.”

He said that since that night he’s reminded about a quote from the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, who said, "Those who say that we are in a time when there are no heroes, they just don't know where to look" and Plummer believes he knows where to look.

“Just look around you,” he said. “They are our teachers, EMTs, 911 dispatchers, firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses and nurse's aides, plow drivers and so many more. Just look and you will find them.”

Tobin, 90, said he couldn’t believe it when told he was going to be the Grand Marshal for the Summerfest Parade.

“I haven’t been very active the past few years and I don’t know who nominated me for this honor but I’m very grateful, it’s quite an honor,” he said.

He worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 39 years and served on the Windham Town Council from 1997 to 2007 and was a State Representative representing Windham in the Maine Legislature from 1998 to 2004.

Matthew said that Tobin is a man of few words but when he does speak, he conveys a very important message.

“His priority has been to always do what is best for our community,” she said. “He has served the citizens of Windham with devotion and purpose for decades and we have benefited greatly from his wide range of knowledge of government from the local to state levels. He exemplifies the heart and soul of Windham.”

Tobin said he enjoyed riding in the Summerfest Parade with his friend Gary Plummer in a classic red Ford Mustang convertible and shared what he considered to be the best thing about being honored as this year’s Grand Marshal.

“I got to see people I haven’t seen in years,” Tobin said. “It was such a great honor.” <

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